The latest addition to Queensberry Street is Twenty & Six Espresso. This part of town has recently started to really take off, with the sandwich mecca that is Beatrix and the much-lauded Auction Rooms just a short stroll away. Easy to pass if you don’t know what to look for, the cafe is housed in a nondescript space with minimal signage. Inside sits around 20 people with outside space for the taking when rain doesn’t threaten.
When it comes to the interior and fit-out, owners Majda and Nedim have kept things simple – white walls with quirky decals by Melbourne artist Georgia Cranstoun. Above the cream-coloured La Marzocca coffee machine, copper piping frames the counter with coffee paraphernalia displayed on a wooden shelf. The sporadic but thoughtful splashes of colour include an art deco minty-turquoise in the cups and saucers and hot-pink spray-painted twigs, which breathes life into the otherwise understated space. Bare bones industrial lighting and wooden milk crates line the walls – some crates are topped with coffee sacks for extra seating – we especially love the rustic wooden chairs outside with their geometric paint-dipped designs.
The house blend is from Proud Mary – Angel’s Wings. With touches of sweet orange, plum and light notes of hazelnut the team sticks with what it knows best. The menu is short and sharp. Egg-based dishes comprise of most of the four special offerings with a breakfast selection of cranberry and nut granola, sourdough toast and fruit bread with preserves to round the menu out. The shelf in front of the coffee machine has some of the sweet offering for those looking for a quick bite or something to take away.
I ordered the Hulk Smash – but substituted the eggs for beautifully charred Istra Bacon. I don’t tend to pick something from the breakfast menu, but in the absence of a lunch menu the sourdough, minted avocado and bacon with the wonderfully zesty-sweet addition of slithers of pink grapefruit is a well thought out inclusion.
WordMonkey went for the safe option – mainly due to the fact that she was saving herself for dessert at Beatrix (review here) – the last time we visited Beatrix she was under the weather and unable to eat anything. She went for the poached eggs on sourdough – supplemented by a few forkfuls off my plate – why do girls do that? What’s there to say about poached eggs? Runny on the inside and perched on two slices of crunchy buttered toast.
It might not be about to set the world on fire, but it joins the ranks of Melbourne’s solidly good coffee and brunch places. Well done folks.
Twenty & Six Espresso
594 Queensberry Street
North Melbourne, VIC 3051
Monday – Friday 7am – 4pm
Saturday – Sunday 8am – 5pm
Ph. (03) 9329 0298